The European Union's top court has ruled that EU-member nations must recognize same-sex marriages performed in other countries even if the country itself does not allow such marriages to be performed.
The European Court of Justice ruled that Romania must grant residency to Clay Hamilton, a US citizen. and accept his status as the husband of Romanian citizen Adrian Coman following their same-sex marriage in Belgium in 2010.
Hamilton's residency rights in Romania were dependent on his status as Coman's husband. However, Romanian authorities refused to recognize their marriage, as Romania does not permnit same-sex marriages.
"Although the member states have the freedom whether or not to authorize marriage between persons of the same sex," the judges said, "they may not obstruct the freedom of residence of an E.U. citizen by refusing to grant his same-sex spouse, a national of a country that is not an E.U. member state, a derived right of residence in their territory."
Coman was ecstatic about the decision. "It’s an amazing day for us and we’re very happy to have each other and all the people and the institutions that believed in us that supported us along these years," he told Euronews. "Romania is my country and I want it to be my husband’s country as well."
"We can now look in the eyes of any public official in Romania and across the E.U. with certainty that our relationship is equally valuable and equally relevant for the purpose of free movement within the E.U," he added.